“FAKE NEWS:” ITS IMPACT ON REAL NEWS, THE MEDIA, OUR SOCIETY, AND THE LIBRARY PROFESSIONLORIE HARDING
HOW THE HECK DID THIS HAPPEN? • The Oxford English Dictionary has named “post-truth” as its word of the year,in 2018 referring to the circumstance “in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” • it is far easier to tear things down than to build them up, this isn’t new see the yellow journalism era, or War of the World. What’s changed is the speed and the spin. Also due to speed and nature of internet you can’t put the cat back in the bag. • Perfect storm of extrinsic and intrinsic factors from a number of players that need to be looked at together to fully understand the complexity of the problem
Medium has changed. Longer news cycle to fill with more players who have incentive to get the information first (higher ratings) or sound bites, and make correction(s) later. Passive/Active News Consumption.
OUTSIDE EXTERNAL FORCES • Instagram news platform now • Social Media Eclipses Print News • Facebook, Google and more tech companies behaving badly. https://hbr.org/2015/03/data-monopolists-like-google-are-threatening-the-economy
“MAINSTREAM MEDIA” or “PERSONALIZED MEDIA” • Filter bubble: Personalization algorithms are math equations that use data about your online activity to shape the information you’re exposed to on the internet and show content tailored to your specific interests. • And these algorithms aren’t always great at monitoring and verifying https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/technology/youtube-notre-dame-fire.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR05wlhPrRRjIkBwG--DukQiHsU9m29YJrGHB_VGWoORvXZxnmK4vJbiWVA • Polarization and reinforcement (across spectrum) • Social Media as “Media”
Cambridge Analytica was the first one that gained media tractions, but it isn’t the only one. • Emotional, easy, and quick in addition to the aforementioned bubble and psychological elements. • https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/fake-news-survey?utm_term=.tjZEQq1XN#.avAePoEX8 (people who cite Facebook as a major source of news are more likely to view fake news headlines as accurate than those who rely less on the platform for news.) • Twittr bots, and fake accounts =Dangerous to our democracy. (Facebook doc part 2) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/opinion/russia-meddling-disinformation-fake-news-elections.html#two • People are giving away their data and privacy without a second thought. NY times Privacy Project. Spoiler alert Nothing is free.
DID I MENTION IT GETS WORSE? • What have we given up- privacy, personal information of ourselves and others- intellectual property • What are they collecting- absolutely everything and it’s making them rich. • Do people even understand (the devil’s in the agreements)- amount of time it would take to read all the agreements. • AI and the next generation of fake/misinformation news (they know- they just don’t care) https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/technology-is-biased-too-how-do-we-fix-it/ • Can the regulations keep up- EU is trying, but most are lagging behind.
OH, YEAH AND THEN THERE’S US… • Humans make decisions on emotions, loyalties to “tribes”prone to confirmation bias, suffer from cognitive dissonance. • https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/18/15659394/trump-supporters-motivated-ignorance (We find inconvenient political facts to be genuinely unpleasant. Psychologists theorize that’s because our partisan identities get mixed up with our personal identities — which would mean that an attack on our strongly held beliefs is an attack on the self.) • https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/20/14915076/7-psychological-concepts-explain-trump-politics We’ve evolved to prioritize social dynamics over intellectual analysis. “Backfire effect”- when you encounter information that challenges a belief you hold to yours stronger than before. • http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe
Other intrinsic factors…. • Do people see things the same way? https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/the-yuck-factor/580465/ • Framing matters too:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/09/magazine/climate-change-politics-economics.html • Social Media is populated at the poles, but it’s what gets most of the spotlighthttps://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/08/upshot/democratic-electorate-twitter-real-life.html and https://hiddentribes.us/
WHY LIBRARIES CAN SAVE THE WORLD! • People trust us! And there are a lot of libraries (more than Starbucks/McDonalds) • And they like us! Safe space where people feel seen and known. Have people in your community use the library to tell their story – power in the narrative, in any medium perhaps there are ways to leverage those community stories through some of the AR/VR we’ve seen today. Palaces of the people/ Mirrors and Windows • They look to us for resources and classes. • We’re awesome partners for things like civic groups, local newspapers and others. • So many smart people have started putting tools together to help!.
Where should we focus? Some idea’s • Teaching adolescents and children critical thinking skills, and (scientific) methodologies. Skills in finding root data (rather than once and twice removed). Reading horizontally not vertically. • Curiosity: seems to be the pin that bursts our partisan bubbles, allowing new and sometimes uncomfortable information to trickle in. Nothing else works like curiosity does, the authors point out—not being reflective, or good at math, or even well-educated. • Advocate, Educate, Support local news • Think About Facilitation, Collections and Your Community’s Challenges.
Other IDEAS & RESOURCES • Digital Literacy for EVERYONE for example:framing news for them (Friday 5), when you teach tech classes be sure to incorporate digital literacy (decoding meme’s, BS class detection, privacy and safeguarding your tech) lead people to come to their own conclusions. • Storytelling in your community:Human Library (http://humanlibrary.org/) • So many resourcs... https://www.callingbullshit.org/videos.html and https://newseumed.org/tools/lesson-plan/story-share-worthy-flowchart and https://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/ and https://thetrustproject.org/ • Partner with your local journalist • Montclair- NJ Media Commons,- resource Princeton University “Teach In”- Princeton Citizens Scientist’s group that will visit your library, Not in Our Town (Social Justice)
Finally- the future. Where we are going? • https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/technology/fake-videos-deepfakes.html • https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2018/4/17/17247334/ai-fake-news-video-barack-obama-jordan-peele-buzzfeed Thank You- Want to Talk More? Lorie Harding firstname.lastname@example.org
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